A sun-filled, blue-sky day at the Monaco Swan One Design, hosted by the Yacht Club de Monaco, failed to produce the wind the event so richly deserved at the close of a stop-start week. With no races undertaken, so yesterday’s class leaders became the regatta’s overall winners. Leonardo Ferragamo’s Italian entry, Cuordileone, won in ClubSwan 50, Luis Senis’ Spanish team on Porron IX took home the Swan 45 prize and Lorenzo Mondo’s Far Star from Italy carried top spot in ClubSwan 42. In the battle for The Nations Trophy, Cuordileone and Andrea Masi’s ClubSwan 50 Ulika combined to give victory to Italy.
The final prize giving remained the usual uplifting, celebratory affair for a Swan One Design event despite the number of races contested. The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League is more than simply competition on the water. Its personality is a reflection of the character of the owners, crews and organisation. Vice-President of Nautor’s Swan, Enrico Chieffi, addressed the assembled audience:
“More than anything, I want to thank, you, the competitors. Regattas are made by the participants and it is great to see so many friends and familiar faces enjoying themselves.” Chieffi also took the opportunity to look ahead: “One year ago, when we started in Monaco, I never dreamt we would achieve so much. 14 boats here, 24 entered for Scarlino and then the Rolex Giraglia, some 40 expected at the Copa del Rey and as many as 45 at The Nations Trophy in October. This is an impressive ramp up and we are very proud. Thank you all!”
Cuordileone’s success came by virtue of consistency rather than virtuoso victories. Ferragamo’s team, with Ken Read in the tactician’s role, scored two seconds and one third, beating Ulika by two points, despite Masi’s crew winning one of the three races. Skorpios, another race winner, was a further three points behind, the Russian crew’s otherwise impeccable scoreline let down by an uncharacteristically bad result in race two of the series.
Ferragamo was delighted with his win, but rather than dwell upon the manner it was achieved chose to reflect upon The Nations Trophy concept and how it continues to grow and develop. “The Nations Trophy has quickly become a unique event. It was founded on some special criteria,” Ferragamo enthused. “Real confrontation between countries, something I consider to be of paramount importance in the world of sailing. The gathering of large fleets of one design yachts to race together. Finally, the last important pillar, is the participants.” It goes without saying that a regatta is not a regatta without competitors, but Ferragamo was referring more to the atmosphere that surrounds the event. “Of course it is competitive, but the event is characterised by a gentleman-like spirit,” he continued. “This is wonderful to see. The friendship is seen on the sea and the land. The event is building in international dimension all the time.” Looking ahead, Ferragamo is also thrilled to be heading to Scarlino, where the competition will be wider and stronger.
Porron IX is the defending world champion in the Swan 45. Across the three races contested, the team once again proved their class. Hugo Rocha, the Portuguese 1996 Olympic bronze medallist from the 470 class, stepped into the tactician’s shoes due to a clash in the calendar for the regular role-player. It was not straight-forward given the conditions, but Rocha believes the boat-handling skills of the Porron crew made all the difference. “We have a very similar speed to the other Swan 45s, but in the manoeuvres these guys are very strong,” advises Rocha. “We win on small details. The races are very close and the points difference at the end of the event is often close too. The team has been together for two years. They know the boat. The communication is solid. It makes it easy for me to just concentrate on my job.”
While excited to have won, Luis Senis could not hide his disappointment at the number of races, such is his competitiveness. He likes the venue and yacht club, and could see the positives. “We did not have enough races, but the sailing we had was very interesting and challenging,” he explained. “I’m happy we have won. It is down to our practice. So, this is perfect.” Senis is another looking ahead to Scarlino: “There will be more boats and strong boats too. It will really prove where we are in the Swan 45 fleet. It is a new location for us, with new history and a new feel. This is exciting too. I always like to be in a place for the first time.” In the back of Senis’ mind, is unfinished business at the Copa del Rey at the end of July, and the in October a tilt at a third world championship title and, of course, The Nations Trophy itself.
Lorenzo Mondo and Far Star won at the Monaco Swan One Design in 2018, and winning again brought a smile to Mondo’s face. Three wins from three left the other boats in class clutching at straws, but Mondo was gracious in victory. “It was not the big challenge we hoped for, but we are very happy to win here,” he said. “We expect in Scarlino the challenge will be much greater. There will be more boats and more fun. Maybe the wind will be more generous too!”
From the Prize Giving
Bernard d’Alessandri, Secretary-General of the Yacht Club de Monaco, paid special tribute to the volunteers who had helped put on the racing and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the organisation reached its high level. Ariane Mainemare, the Principal Race Officer, was congratulated for her perseverance in the face of testing conditions. D’Alessandri went on: “I would like to thank all the competitors for coming and racing here. I would like to thank Nautor’s Swan too for giving us the opportunity. We enjoyed having you and you are always very welcome.”
Enrico Chieffi, in turn, thanked the Yacht Club de Monaco for its professionalism and hospitality. “It’s always a pleasure to be here and we feel at home,” he said. “The club is magnificent, and while we all hoped for better wind, the organisation was top.” Chieffi went on to thank Banor, Marevivo and Sease for having supported the event, emphasising how important these partnerships are to the success of this event and the Mediterranean League as a whole."
Racing in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2019 continues with the Scarlino Swan One Design from 30 April to 4 May.